K has undergone an interesting change since her 5th birthday. She seems more self assured, stronger, more… well herself, only more concentrated.
I’ve been worried for a while that she seems to have a people pleasing personality. She’s her very normal radical self with Mr. Kaos and I, even with my parents and my brother and S. But put her out in the real world and she dreads the thought of anyone in authority disliking her or being mad. I assume it’s because of this that she lets kids walk all over her in order to avoid looking mean or being the heavy in the eyes of her teacher or other parents.
Not. Any. More.
On Easter day she took part in an egg hunt with her cousins. Most of the kids are a bit older, K and N (who is almost 4) were the youngest. The older kids when released from their captivation and told to go for it immediately went for all the easy to get visible eggs before the little ones were even in the room. By older kids I mean over the age of 10 under the age of 14. At a certain point they were told by the grownups to knock it off and let the little kids have the eggs. They slowed down and K and her 2 young cousins enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the hunt area. I pointed out eggs for the two youngest ones, on a few occasions K put eggs in N’s basket since she had less eggs than anyone. When it was all done and it had been declared that all the eggs were found the “kids” and little ones headed upstairs to inspect their little plastic treasures. K looked in her basket, she looked in N’s and she looked over to the big kids. Having located the boy with the very most eggs of anyone she strolled over, put her hands on her hips, scrunched up her face and shouted right at him:
“You know Easter egg hunts are for the little kids and N and I have almost none, you should have let us found some, that was MEAN!!!!!”
Some parent’s would have let this go, and I admit I may have been a bit rash but I walked over, took her by the hand and said:
“I understand why you are mad, but you can NOT treat people that way, now please apologize for yelling at him”
To my surprise this strong little girl who had just told a teen a thing or two about manners dissolved into tears that then lead to the biggest tantrum and meltdown she has had in 2 years. We took her to a quiet bedroom and I held her in my arms and rocked and shushed her after it became apparent that talking would do no good, breathing was out of the question and letting her cry it out was going to lead to fainting.
We wound up leaving 30 minutes later (when she was once again breathing properly and the tears had slowed to a trickle).
Before we left I was told by a few people “She was right, he should have let the kids get them” and you know what, I know she was right, and I was proud of her for standing up for herself and her little cousin, but she was also wrong to treat some one that way. I also noticed before I left that they same older kid K had screamed at must have been effected by what she said because I saw him slip several eggs into her basket and her little cousin’s.
Wow. So I was floored, and we spent the rest of the day in quiet reflection having family snuggle time, making art and watching It’s the Easter Beagle Charlie Brown.
Apparently that wasn’t the end of this new K. On Wednesday morning as we arrived at school behind a few friends that had walked from our street one little boy who is always very opinionated began to mock K. He called her a slowpoke and many variations of that name and asked why she’s so slow. It was not nice, it was cruel and I could tell she was hurt. Because no one else said anything I told him it was not polite to call names and asked him to stop. He did not so K decided to stand up for herself.
“I AM NOT A SLOWPOKE AND THAT IS MEAN TO SAY YOU WILL NOT CALL PEOPLE NAMES!”
As she yelled this she flailed her arms and feet around in a very threatening way and if the little boy hadn’t pulled back she would have popped him right in the face.
I picked up K, then once again repeated to the boy she had yelled at and another boy who had chimed in, “We don’t call people names”. Then I walked a few steps away with K who was looking very sad and hurt and told her as kindly as I could “They were being very mean to you, and you shouldn’t let people hurt you, but yelling at people and hitting is not the way to deal with it” I didn’t make her apologize because I didn’t want a repeat of the crying scene from Easter day.
Yesterday when I picked K up from school she was agitated. Visibly. She wanted to go home and that was that. On our way she told me a wondrous tale where she was sitting with her friends at snack time and when it came time to eat her strawberry wafers she decided to share. Knowing that K likes sharing I had given her 3 wafer cookies. She was thrilled. She decided the best way to share the cookies was to break them in half, then she would have 6 and all the little girls could have half a wafer. How sweet.
Except that one little girl who is very bossy, even bossier than I am, reportedly said
OG(other girl): I want a whole one
K: Then there isn’t enough, here you can have half
OG: Give me a whole one
K: No I want to share, you can have this half
OG: Give me a whole one or I’ll hit you with my lunch box
OG: WHaaahahaaaaaa booo hooo hooo
Okay I can’t use crying as part of a dialog, it doesn’t work, but you get the point. Some parts of this I found very plausible, but I wasn’t sure about the whole truth of the matter. This morning though, after I dropped K off, her teacher spoke to me for a moment asking if K had talked to me about what happened yesterday. I told her yes and what I had been told and from what we could gather that is a fair representation of what happened.
The odd part? The other girl doesn’t normally cry. K does. K didn’t shed a tear. Just said no and that was that, this was not lost on the teacher.
What is the point of this post, because I have no clue? That bullying starts early? Possibly. That behaviors can change all on their own? Who knows. That K will be a champion of children’s rights not to get bullied? Could be.
I will tell you one thing. K is a little worried that the other girl may hit her with her lunch box some other day, but she says she thinks she can handle it and that’s okay by me…